Set on the junction of the Calder and Midland highway just 9km north of Castlemaine, the apple town of Harcourt is living proof that good things come in small packages.
Just north of Harcourt you’ll come across the delightfully named walk-through butterfly house, Skydancers, while the locals advise that you don’t have to venture too far out of town to snare a fish.
Harcourt Valley Estate and Mt Alexander wineries compete for the visiting palate and there is a koala reserve in nearby Mt Alexander Park.
In these parts, of course, you are deep in the Victorian goldfields and there is a selection of ghost mines in the region to rekindle the romance of the days when fortunes were won and lost on the swing of a pick.
The Chinese cemetery at Fryerstone on the other side of Castlemaine also has a fascinating story to tell in the saga of the golden age.
A Central Highlands town, Harcourt stands at the foot of Mt Aexander which is the pivotal landmark in the Mt Alexander Regional Park whose walking tracks are dotted with lookouts. Within the reserve, Koala Park has been stocked with photogenic 'bears' from Phillip Island.